Being a parent is tough. You would never know if you are doing the right thing at every point of time. It will always be in hindsight that you will judge your approach and actions.
If you are tough with your child, you may feel guilty at some point of time when you see your child breaking down from too much expectation and stress in his life. If you are too lenient, you may wonder if you are depriving your child the opportunity to develop his adversity quotient and build up his tenacity to overcome challenges.
Perhaps, we are worrying too much as parents that our parenting styles would have an indelible mark on the future of our children. Indeed, they would.
However, we must not forget that our children will always be inundated and shaped by external influences and communities as well, including his school, teachers, peers and the media. A child that may have received lenient parenting at home may strive to become more disciplined as he witnessed his peers’ grades improving tremendously after their parents imposed restrictions on their screen time. In contrast, another who is under strict parenting may crave every opportunity to play video games as his schedule is packed from classes to classes, seven days a week.
Under such disparage circumstances, both children displayed the desire and inclination to excel and compete with their peers by the time they reached the age of 10-12 year-old.
Nevertheless, in my own experience, the child who was exposed to a gentler parenting style is struggling more to achieve his goals as positive habits like conscientiousness and resilience were not built earlier on when he was younger. He would have to spend more time and effort to undo old destructive habits to build new desirable habits for success. Having said so, this child would develop greater resilience as he struggles to kick away old habits to achieve his goals.
On the other extreme, a child who had “helicopter parenting1” may struggle with managing his time and prioritising in the future as everything is being planned out for him right now. Hence, it is important to teach the child how to track and schedule his time as early as possible so that he can learn to take ownership of his time and learning. By showing the child how to balance his playtime with learning, it will be less likely that the child will become rebellious and snap off from the tightrope as he approaches his teenage years.
Having witnessed the struggles of my students, I would think that children under strict parenting have an easier route to becoming a self-motivated, task-oriented and high-achieving individual. When the time comes, I would certainly adopt the strict-parenting approach, bearing in mind that, down the road, I may suffer from guilt for taking away the carefreeness of childhood and thrusting them into the vicissitudes of life too young.
- “Helicopter parenting” is a phenomenon in which the parents are micromanaging and overly protective of every aspect of the child’s life and problems instead of imparting him the skills of becoming an independent adult.